April 5, 2005: Minister attacks Grewal's requests for bond promises
Canadian Press NewsWire
April 5, 2005
SECTION: Pg. n/a
HEADLINE: Tory MP's practice of asking for bond promises under attack by minister
OTTAWA (CP) - A Conservative MP's practice of demanding $50,000 bond promises from some constituents seeking his help with visitors' visas has raised the ire of the federal immigration minister. Joe Volpe said Tuesday the practice is "not only unacceptable but abhorrent" and said his department is drafting a letter asking ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro to investigate Gurmant Grewal of Surrey, B.C., immediately. "It probably will go beyond having the ethics commissioner look at it," Volpe said outside the Commons.
Grewal told a parliamentary committee last week that he has between 10 and 15 letters from constituents promising to pay $50,000 if a visitor they've asked him to sponsor overstays their visa. He's never demanded that anyone actually purchase a bond and no money has ever changed hands.
Grewal could not be reached for comment Tuesday but told the Vancouver Province newspaper earlier this week that he'd like to see the bonds become official government policy.
In the meantime, Grewal told the newspaper, "it's for my own safety." "It's a way to test if someone is serious. It's not foolproof, but I need something in my hands. That's why I do it."
MPs are frequently asked to write letters of guarantee for constituents with family members making short visits to Canada. Grewal said he only employs the bond promise when he doesn't know enough about the constituent to feel assured the visa will be honoured.